Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The World’s Greatest Holiday Shopping List

Most of you are all familiar with my Etsy shop, but I wonder how many of you know about a great Etsy feature that you might just use yourself this holiday season?

I’m talking about the “Favorites” feature on Etsy. Although it’s not meant to be specifically a wish list for holiday shopping, you can easily use it to your advantage that way. It’s simple. Just login to your Etsy account (if you don’t have one, registering is simple and requires no detailed personal information beyond your e-mail address and name), and then browse around to find things you love.

When you come upon an item of interest, within the listing description you’ll see a link on the lower right side that says “Add Item to Favorites.” Just click that link and the item will be marked as a “favorite.”

Now here’s the fun part. When your husband or sister or best friend or mother asks what you might like as a gift this holiday season, you can point them to your list. All they have to do is type your Etsy ID name in their browser, followed by ".etsy.com." (For example, my username is fearlessfibers, so my URL is: http://fearlessfibers.etsy.com) Even if you don’t have a shop on Etsy, a page still comes up and on that page there is a link that says, “Favorites.” There, your gift-giving loved ones can find your wish list. How cool is that?!

If you have no shame (I know I don’t!), you can even go to your favorites list when it’s complete, copy the URL and e-mail it to that husband or sister or best friend or mother.

One important thing to note: If you decide to create a holiday wish list this way, be sure to check back every few days. If items on your list are sold or removed from the site by the seller, you may want to remove them from your favorites so that your shopping friends and family won't become frustrated if they find that the items you've marked are unavailable.

And, of course, if you are more of the giving sort and not so interested in your own wish list, you can ask your friends and family to make their own wish lists to help you out with your shopping this holiday season.

Just thought you all might like to know about this feature. It’s much easier to drop a URL than a subtle hint ;)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday FFFO

For today's Fearless Fibers Finished Object, I present this lovely pair of socks by Linda Jo.

Linda Jo knit these using FF Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Navajo colorway. The pattern is a "Mystery Sock" pattern from the Socktopia KAL.

Lovely work by Linda Jo! For a look at more of Linda Jo's work, you can visit her blog.

Everyone have a wonderful start to your week!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Progress, Bad Photos

I've made some fair progress on a couple of projects this past week, but the light is not cooperating and I can't seem to get decent photos to share with you. I'll show you what I've got and that will have to suffice for now.

Here's the wrap I'm making from my FF Mohair/Wool Worsted Weight Yarn in the Morocco colorway.

The photo is terrible, but it does give you a sense of the size of the piece. It's pretty curly at the edges (which should gently undulate once blocked) so difficult to tell how wide it is in the photo, but the width is around 25 inches or so and will grow a bit more when blocked. I'm about 80% done with the length. You really can't see the patterning much at all in these pictures, but I've posted that before.

Here's another shot to give a sense of the progress.

I also (FINALLY!) finished the first sleeve of the zipper-front sweater from the Winter 04/05 edition of Vogue Knitting. (No, that doesn't mean I've been working on it since winter 04/05. It has been a few months months, but not a few years!)

Don't you like my sophisticated way of spreading out the curling edges for the photo? I've started the second sleeve as well and reached the turning point for the cuff (that's the line you see in the photo above, where the sleeve cuffs upward).

My knitting time remains less than I would like, but other things must take priority right now. The new house is coming along, although it's my husband who's doing 99% of the work there. He finished painting the living room, hallway, and two downstairs bedrooms this week. I did paint the ceilings in the bedrooms, so I guess I had a bit of a hand in that. The major obstacle remaining before we can move in is the bathroom. The drywall has all been replaced now and the backerboard is up for the shower, so we're ready to buy the tile and get working on that next. My husband is under some sort of delusion that it's a good idea that I do the tilework. He's doing all the prep to ensure everything's level and ready to go, but he seems to think that I should be the one to lay the tile. Hmmm. Perhaps it's the fume from the paint getting to him?

And, of course, I continue dyeing like a mad woman. Most of my dyeing time lately has been focused on replenishing stock, but there are always a few new things in the mix. Here's one recent addition:

That's my FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in a new colorway called Imagine. I also have it in the Sportweight Superwash Merino.

That's about all for today. Hope everyone is doing wonderfully!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sinful Socks

For today's Monday project feature, I have a pair of socks by Jaimi knit with one of the FF Seven Deadly Sins Sock Club colorways. The colorway is Gluttony. The colors for the yarn were inspired by creamy milk chocolate with touches of caramel.

Jaimi used a toe-up sock pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. It has an easy toe, a short row heel, and a picot hem. Jaimi reports that the stitch pattern is "sort of Stansfield 196." It began that way, but after realizing she made an error, Jaimi recharted the pattern to reflect what she had actually done and proceeded without having to frog her work. Very clever girl! And look at these lovely results:

With a relatively short leg on these socks, Jaimi used slightly less than half of the skein and so will be able to get another pair out of just one skein!

Pop over to Jaimi's blog for a look at more of her lovely work.

A big Thank You to Jaimi for sharing her FFFO photos! I have one more project in the queue to post next week and then my queue is dry, so step right up and send me those finished project photos! Just send me an e-mail with your photos attached or linked to your blog, along with any relevant details you'd like to share.

Great day to all!

Friday, October 19, 2007

One Down, Three to Go

At last, I have another finished project of my own to share with you. I've had four projects in progress for a while and have now finished the smallest and have three remaining. I know four projects sounds like a tiny number to many of you, but for me that's just too many. I need the satisfaction of finishing items to keep me going!

The finished project is a pair of Delicato Mitts by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot.

I used my FF Sportweight Cashmere for these, so they're wonderfully soft and comfy. They are a replacement gift for a friend, who lost the first pair I made for her.

It's not the best color to show off the pattern, particularly in photos, but here's a closeup to give you a little better look at the pattern detail.

Now I just need to stay focused and try to complete the Mohair/Wool stole I started a few weeks ago before casting on something new. My other two projects (zipper-front sweater and ripple stitch afghan) are larger and won't be finished in the very near future (although I am getting closer on the sweater!).

Of course, there are other projects in the works as well:

That's a portion of my demolished downstairs bathroom in my new house. We ripped everything out except the tub. Plumbing has been replaced now, walls have been removed to expand the bathroom into what used to be the laundry area, the washer and dryer have been relocated to the garage, and we are now ready to begin reconstructing.

And then there's the living room and two downstairs bedrooms, which looked a bit like this:

This room has changed a bit now ... The old popcorn ceilings are gone now, walls and ceilings have been retextured, and we're close to ready for painting.

And finally, there's this:

That's my husband, who has also been retextured and is ready for a coat of paint.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2007


For this morning's FFFO (that's my new shorthand for Fearless Fibers Finished Object), I have a great pair of socks by Peggy.

Peggy used FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Lime Kiwi colorway. The pattern is the Poisedon Socks from the Exercise Before Knitting blog. (You'll find a link on the right side of the blog where you can access the free pattern.)

Here's a close up of Peggy's lovely stitchwork:

Fabulous job and fabulous socks by Peggy! A big Thank You to Peggy for sharing her work!

If you have a project you would like to share, please e-mail me with the photos or link and any relevant details you'd like to share.

Everyone have a great start to another week!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Quick FFFO Post

Just a quick post today to show you my final post-blocked Ostrich Plumes Stole by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot in my FF Laceweight Merino in Sunny Peach. It's an FFFO (that's my new shorthand for Fearless Fibers Finished Objects . . . adopt at will :).

The photos aren't great, but they're good enough to give you a sense of the finished project. I really love it!

My decision to give it to my mortgage banker as a Thank You gift is now complete. I haven't done it yet, but I will. She called me yesterday just to see how the new house is going and also to ask me some yarn questions (her mother is a knitter and she's thinking of buying her some yarn). Her call gave me the perfect opportunity to casually mention that I was planning on stopping by the bank in a few days to drop off "a little something" for her. Very casual. Breezy even. And so now it will - I hope! - seem a little more natural and won't potentially freak her out. I didn't want her to think I was some crazy lady who was stalking her, bringing her lavish gifts! I think the tone is now set for me to be able to give her my little Thank You gift without frightening her.

That's about all that's new here. I'm trying not to allow Ravelry to distract me too much, but I must say, it is great fun! I could randomly browse people's projects for hours. If you're on Ravelry, feel free to look me up (user name is "fearlessfibers" of course). As mentioned in my last post, the ever-wonderful Cindy (aka Maxfun on Ravelry) was kind enough to set up a "Fans of Fearless Fibers" Group, so you might also swing by and considering joining the chit chat there.

I think I hear some leftover Yakisoba Noodles calling my name from the fridge. Must be going now . . .

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Thrill of the Cast On

I think the joy of casting on for a new project is second only to the joy of completing a project. Right now, I'm basking in the happy glow of both of those wonderful moments in the knitting process.

I've officially finished the Ostrich Plumes Stole in my Sunny Peach Laceweight Merino that I've posted about several times here previously. I showed you blocking photos a few posts ago, but I don't yet have finished photos to share. The weather is uncooperative and my husband is not home to assist in a photo shoot, so you'll have to wait to see the end product on that one.

Although I should use the extra knitting moments that the completion of the Ostrich Plumes Stole provides to work on my zipper-front sweater or ripple stitch afghan that have both been making very slow progress, but instead I cast on for not one but two new projects. Ahhh, the irresistible allure of the cast on!

The first new project I started is another stole, but this one is a cold weather stole made with my Worsted Weight Mohair/Wool. I don't know who will be the recipient of this piece, but I'm sure I'll find a home for it. I'd love to keep it for myself, but I'm allergic to mohair. I can dye it and I can knit with it, but if I get it too close to my face I wheeze and sneeze endlessly.

For this stole, I wanted something of a generous size and scale. You know the type. Something that one can wrap up in on a brisk day or just use to envelop oneself while snuggled up on the sofa for a Law & Order marathon on a cold night. I also wanted a stitch pattern with a bit of a multi-directional look, since I planned to use a handpainted colorway and wanted to be sure that the colors mixed and mingled nicely. I played around a bit and came up with a pattern that satisfied me. Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern:

You can't see the detail terribly well in the photo, but there are yarn overs there that will show up a bit more with blocking. I won't block it aggressively though. I want to leave a bit of texture to it. The blocking will be more to flatten out the curling at the edges and to open the fabric just a touch.

After knitting quite a bit of lace lately, this project with worsted weight seems to be flying off the needles at a rapid pace. I'm using US #9 needles. For most projects, I recommend a #7 or 8 for this yarn, but for a stole I prefer the way it knits up on the larger 9s. It gives the fabric more drape and movement, and since a little stretching over time won't hurt a stole, I decided on the #9s.

The colorway I'm using is called Morocco. (I think the photos - particularly the close up - show a bit more of a blue tinge than the yarn really has. It's predominantly green, with just a touch of bluish/teal tinges.)

The other project I started is yet another iteration of the fabulous KnitSpot Delicato Mitts. I've made a couple of pairs of these already. This pair is - unfortunately - a "replacement" pair for one of those.

I made a pair of these Delicato Mitts for a friend a few months ago. She seemed to genuinely like them very much. She called them her "Mouse Mitts" because she immediately began wearing them in the evenings when she was surfing the internet. They were perfect to keep her hands warm in the cool of the evening, while leaving her fingers free for mousing.

But then ... horror of horrors ... a few weeks after giving them to her she told me in a rather casual, offhand way that she had lost them! After searching everywhere, she came to the conclusion that she had left them on an airplane during a trip to visit her daughter.

I have to admit that this bothered me a bit. It wasn't the fact that she lost them. I knew she liked them very much and I totally understand that these things happen. What bothered me was the offhand way in which she mentioned it, followed by her statement that she wanted another pair. I am embarassed to admit that I rather sarcastically (although with a smile and a laugh!) responded, "Well, you know where WalMart is!"

Thinking of it again a week or so later, I felt very small and petty. I chided myself for being so self-centered. I tut-tutted over my own lack of generosity. The fact is, I made the mitts for her because I thought she would like them and enjoy them. She did. I made the mitts to make her happy and show her that I care about her. They did that. I did *not* make the mitts so that she would appreciate the time and effort that went into them. That's always a nice side benefit, but I really was being quite petty and ungenerous to allow it to bother me that she was not chagrined at the loss.

And so I cast on a new pair for her, this time using my Sportweight Cashmere.

The colorway used for these mitts is not one available in my shop. It's something from my personal stash that I think was likely one of the "development" skeins when I was first creating either the Mountain or Sedona colorways. This one is similar to both of those, but not quite like either. It doesn't have the mustard shades of brown that are part of Mountain and it has more tan and less brick than Sedona.

It's not the best colorway for the pattern, but it's working out reasonably well so far. The yarn, on the otherhand, is absolutely perfect for the pattern! I'm using the #2 needles recommended in the pattern. I would normally use a #3 or #4 for this yarn, but the #2s work really well for the mitts which should have a fairly firm knit to ensure they retain their shape. Using cashmere for mitts is just soooo perfect! It's a small project, so one skein is all it will take. It's a nice way to make a really special, luxurious gift without breaking the bank. The cashmere is also, of course, fabulously soft against the skin which also makes it perfect for mitts.

For this particular pattern, I think a less varied colorway would be absolutely stunning. The beautiful detail of the pattern would show up much better. Perhaps Verdure, a relatively new one that I just recently added on my sportweight cashmere:

In addition to starting these two new projects, I have made a little progress on Sleeve One for the zipper-front sweater. I won't show another photo now, as there's not much to see, but I am closing in on the end of the first sleeve (at last!).

I am also happy to say that I finally found a little time to spend on Ravelry. You can find me there under my user name ... you guessed it: FearlessFibers. If you're on Ravelry and have a moment, please do add me to your "friends" if you'd like. I love to pop over and see what folks are working on.

I haven't had much time to add many things to Ravelry yet and probably won't ever go overboard with it, but that's just because my time is limited. So far, I really like the site and particularly love being able to search by patterns and see what folks have done with them. Photos in patterns always show the finished item to its best advantage, but seeing different versions from individual knitters using various yarns really helps to give me a clearer picture of how a certain pattern may look in reality. I'm sure I'll use that in the future to help make Go/No Go decisions on patterns I'm interested in.

The only drawback to Ravelry is that no wonderful Raveler has yet taken it upon themself to create a Fans of Fearless Fibers "Group" (hint, hint!). There's a special section in Ravelry for Groups, which is just a way to organize folks interested a particular topic or with something in common. It's a handy way to organize "forum" activity so that it's not all over the place. I think it would be great fun to have a little group section where folks could share pattern recommendations and other FF chit chat. I thought about creating one myself, but that just seems way too pushy (and, of course, it would be too sad if I created it and nobody joined the group!).

Yep. That's my not-so-subtle hint to you Ravelers out there ;)

(UPDATE: Huge THANK YOU to Cindy for starting up a Fearless Fibers Fan Group on Ravelry!! If you're on Ravelry and want to join the fun, just pop over to "Groups" and search for Fearless Fibers and you'll find it.)

Time for me to stop rambling and go get some lunch before heading back to my dye work for the day. Great day to all!

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Little Holiday Won't Stop Me!

Just because it's a holiday today in the U.S. doesn't mean it isn't a Monday and time for more project photos!

First up are these beauties from Karin:

Karin used FF Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Golden Olive colorway for her (slightly revised) version of a Nancy Bush pattern. If you'd like to see more of Karin's lovely handiwork, take a little trip over to her blog.

Next up are these fun and energetic socks by Kristen.

Kristen used FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Sunburst and Kildare colorways. She knit them toe-up, using the magic loop method. She used the magic cast on for the toes, short row heels, and a picot bindoff. I just can't help but smile when I look at these cheerful socks with their perfect little stitches. You can see lots more of Kristen's work at her blog.

Coincidentally, both Karin and Kristen are in Canada. I say "coincidentally" not only because it's a coincidence that both of their projects reached the top of my posting queue on the same day, but also because just yesterday I announced that I have now opened my shop listings to shipping to Canada by First Class International Mail. (I previously only shipped to Canada by special request and always by Priority Mail only. I'm giving it a whirl with First Class International, as I can no longer bear the thought of the high cost of shipping for my Canadian customers. Only time will tell whether this will work out and whether this option will remain open.)

I also listed several new colorways in my shop on my Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn yesterday, so if you missed yesterday's blog post just scroll on down for more info.

Time for me to get my rear in gear and hit the dyeing. Everyone have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Sock Yarn Colorways

Just a quick post on this Sunday afternoon to let you all know that I added five new colorways to my line of Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in my shop today. Here are a couple to whet your appetite:

That's Saltillo, my personal favorite of the new ones. I'm a fiend for warm, rusty, burnt, orangy, earthy shades!

The one above is Spellbound, a mix of evergreen, navy and rich teal.

For those of you who prefer the "Classic" (non-superwash) sock yarn, I also recently added two more of my most popular laceweight colorways to the range of offerings on Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn. One of those is the ever-popular Rubicund. Here it is on Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn:

In other hot shop news, I also opened my listings today for shipping to Canada by First Class International Mail. For those of you who are FF customers from Canada, you know that I have previously only shipped outside of the U.S. by Priority Mail. The cost is just so ridiculously high for Priority that I thought it was about time I test the waters again with First Class.

That's it for the shop news for today. Everyone have a wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Knit or Get Off the Pot

It's been a while since I've actually completed a knitting project and it's starting to get me down. This is one of the problems with knitting multiple projects at one time, especially when I have little time for knitting. I have four projects going right now: a Ripple Stitch Throw that I've been working on slowly for several months, the zipper-front sweater from Vogue Knitting, the Ostrich Plumes Stole by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot, and a new project that I've been swatching and just cast on.

Each project seems to progress by the most minute amounts, as I find a few minutes here and there to add a row or two. The only exception is the Ostrich Plumes Stole. I've been enjoying that so much and the progress is so quick that it's been my project-of-choice of late. The poor Ripple Stitch Throw has been virtually ignored and the zipper-front sweater is still patiently waiting for the first sleeve to be completed. They are both a bit peeved to have seen me swatching for a new project.

I finally gave myself I good talking to last night. Knit or get off the pot, Deb! Finish something! With that message in mind, I sat down to watch Beauty and the Geek (stop laughing at me, please) and used the time to finish up the Ostrich Plumes Stole.

The Ostrich is one of those lace patterns that has lots of texture and bumpiness in its blocked state. I used my FF Laceweight Merino in Sunny Peach.

Even laid out over the back of chair, it curls inward and compresses and looks more like a scarf than a stole.

A good blocking will entirely change the look of it.

It will soon be time to unpin the stole and I can finally add another project to my finished list.

Here's a close up of the stitch detail stretched out for blocking.

Of course, now I have to decide what to do with this. I had planned to give it to a friend who lives down south where it's warm year round, but I'm beginning to think that perhaps the scale is wrong for her. It looks as though the stole will measure around 19 X 62 when done. This particular friend is fairly tall and big-boned, so I'm not sure that the 62 inch length will be long enough nor the 19 inch width wide enough for her.

I've considered giving this to my mortgage banker. I know that sounds a bit odd, but she was an absolute angel throughout the process of securing the mortgage for the house we just purchased. I didn't bore you during that process with all the horrid details, but the bank's remote loan processing made a mess of just about every step in the process. Documents were misplaced and had to be resubmitted. Paperwork was sent to us for the wrong loan type (uh no, I didn't apply for a 40 year interest-only adjustable with a ridiculous interest rate!). New paperwork had to be requested three times before anything was done to fix the loan type. The wrong purchase price for the home was used for the new paperwork. And that was just the beginning. Throughout the whole process, my local mortgage banker called me daily (and even gave me her personal cell phone number in case I needed her off hours), met with me several times, and generally put great pressure on the loan processing center to make their errors right.

In the end, despite the ridiculous number of errors and problems, we closed on time just 30 days from the date of the purchase agreement. Given the fiasco of the whole process, that was nothing short of a miracle and is mostly due to my banker's perserverance. I think perhaps that warrants an Ostrich Plumes Stole. I think the color will also be perfect for her.

Hmmmm. Will she think I'm insane if I show up at the bank and give her a handknit stole? Perhaps not. Her mother is a knitter and so she may know of the idiosyncratic ways of the knitter.

Whatever I decide to do with the stole, right now I'm just happy to have something finished!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Great Socks

For today's Monday customer project, I have these fabulous "Drunken Bee" Socks from Micki. She them made with FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Prosperity colorway:

Don't you love the detail? Check out the heel.

The pattern for these socks is free and can be found on Domesticrafts.

Here's one more shot to show off Micki's lovely work.

If these socks have whet your appetite to see more of Micki's wonderful knitting, pop on over to her blog for an eyeful.

I hope everyone has a great start to their week!